March 23, 2013

What is the secret of Fletcher's longevity?

India's coach has clearly not produced results, so how come he has got an extension?
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Indian cricket has decided to stick with head coach Duncan Fletcher, a move that forces us to ask an emphatic "Why?" Clearly Fletcher's India report card isn't one that bears testimony to success. On the contrary, his first term as coach has been among the worst periods in Indian cricket.

India's unwavering yet thoughtless patronage of Fletcher comes at a price. If one is to read between the lines, this extension is effectively for two years, for it is highly unlikely that a new coach will take over just a year before the next World Cup. By the end of his extension, in 2014, India will have invested three valuable years in him and it would only be prudent to carry on with him for another year in the bid to defend the World Cup crown in 2015 - which also means that India's best chances of switching over to a more adept coach will have been recklessly wasted.

After the disastrous twin tours to England and Australia, and the debacle at home against England, it was thought that Fletcher's job was on the line. But just as most players were persisted with in the wake of the whitewash, so was it with Fletcher. Since the man never speaks to the media, and players aren't allowed to speak on internal issues either, it has been impossible to gauge Fletcher's contribution to the team. Still, the scrutiny is inevitable and justifiable, since Fletcher is a professional, drawing a handsome salary.

I remember asking Jason Gillespie, the former Australia fast bowler who is now a coach at Yorkshire, about the yardsticks by which a coach can be judged. Since he has been on both sides of the fence, first as a cricketer dealing with various coaches and now as a coach dealing with players, I expected him to provide some perspective, and he didn't disappoint. He categorically said that a coach at international level must be judged only on the results the team has produced under him. Since such a coach is dealing with elite sportspersons (you'd like to believe that players representing their country are almost finished products), his job is to bring out the best in those players and make the team win more often. If he is not producing results, either the players under his charge should be changed or he himself must make way.

How has Fletcher performed based on these parameters? When he took over, the team was on a high, for they had not only won the World Cup after 28 years, they had also managed to draw a series in South Africa for the first time in their history. Both the ODI and Test units were pretty sorted at that stage, or at least the results seemed to say so.

While Fletcher did well in his first assignment, the tour to the Caribbean, the Test match in Dominica left a bad taste in the mouth. The No. 1 Test team, had quite inexplicably, and cynically, settled for a draw when victory had been in sight. It felt like not losing the match had been the first objective, and only once that had been achieved was victory considered an option.

That was Fletcher's first series as India's coach and he was rightly given the benefit of doubt. Unfortunately, things went downhill from there.

Fletcher's having worked with the England team and knowing their game inside out was considered to be his strength. Since India were to tour England in the summer of 2011, he was looked at as the ideal man to guide them. But from bowling spinners right after lunch at Lord's (after Ishant Sharma's spell had raised Indian hopes) to having Rahul Dravid open the innings after he had carried his bat through in the first innings, most of the team's tactical decisions felt inadequate.

Since India has been in a transitional phase, we could go easy on judging Fletcher with regard to his contribution to player evolution. But while you may not be able to teach seasoned international cricketers the basics, you can always do a bit of hand-holding, provide technical inputs, and boost morale when they need it most

Matters didn't improve on the next overseas assignment, to Australia, where India played an almost identical XI (barring the absence of MS Dhoni in the final Test, because of a ban) through the 0-4 rout. The reluctance to change even the batting order, let alone the playing XI, while the side was losing comprehensively didn't feel right.

While India went on to win against West Indies and New Zealand at home and Sri Lanka in an ODI series away, they faltered in all the big events they played in: apart from the twin whitewashes, they did poorly in the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, the CB Series in Australia, the Asia Cup in Bangladesh, and in the ODIs against Pakistan at home.

The straw that broke the camel's back was the side's first home Test series loss to England since 1985. While India managed to win the ODI series against a depleted England side (they rested four of their main players), and have now nearly returned the favour to the Australians in the current series, it does precious little to improve the Indian team's abysmal record under Fletcher.

So if it wasn't the results that prompted the extension given to Fletcher, what was it? While the coach of a national team is judged on results, a coach who heads a team playing one level below - state, county or Shield cricket - is assessed a little differently, for teams at that level are a mix of experience and youth. As much as there is the wish to win the championship every season, state teams focus nearly as much on the development of the squad for the long run.

Since India has been in a transitional phase (though that only really started 18 months into Fletcher's tenure, when Dravid and VVS Laxman retired), we could go easy on judging Fletcher with regard to his contribution to player evolution. But while you may not be able to teach seasoned international cricketers the basics of the game, you can always do a bit of hand-holding, provide technical inputs, and boost morale when they need it most.

India's poor run of form was also partially because the players who formed the core of the team failed for a very long time. Isn't it the coach's duty to stem the tide? If Virender Sehwag wasn't firing, ought not the coach to have sat him down and talked him into finding a different game plan to succeed? If Gautam Gambhir was going through a long lean patch because of minor technical shortcomings, shouldn't Fletcher have stepped in to rectify those faults? If Zaheer Khan wasn't looking fit or Harbhajan Singh wasn't turning the ball as he used to, both of them should have been talked to and out of the holes they found themselves in. Not to forget, it was imperative for India's success to bring back the Sachin Tendulkar of old. Good coaches do that and more.

When a team is going through a transition, it is imperative to make the best of available resources and not lose more players than you must to things beyond one's control. Once Dravid and Laxman called it quits, it was important for Indian cricket that Tendulkar, Sehwag, Gambhir, Zaheer and Harbhajan, along with Dhoni, formed a nucleus and took the team forward. As things stand now, it's unlikely that Dhoni will have any of the names playing under him by the end of Fletcher's latest extension.

If Fletcher tried his hand at restoration work, it hasn't worked so far. One, the results haven't been impressive. Two, there has been no clear indication that the players are becoming better cricketers. Then why has Fletcher's stay been extended?

If it's only about Dhoni and Co backing him to continue, it must be said that even the most established players are dropped after a poor run at the top, so it's only fair to apply the same logic to the coach. It's all right to take players' input into consideration while appointing a coach, but if a school's management is to pick teachers based on students' recommendations, the teacher that makes the students work the least will win the contest hands down.

"Don't fix what isn't broken" has its merits, but it's tough to figure out India's reluctance to fix what has been broken into several pieces over two years.

Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Out of the Blue, an account of Rajasthan's 2010-11 Ranji Trophy victory. His website is here and his Twitter feed here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Ramski1 on | March 23, 2013, 13:15 GMT

    Also disagree with this article. Coaching India is different to other countries, rightly or wrongly there is much more player power within Team India. DF came into a team with Dravid, Laxman, Tendulkar, Sehwag, Z. Khan, Dhoni.

    A coach should be judged on weather the team wins series it should win and how well the team performs in series it shouldnt. India at their peak were unabe to win In Australia, why would an ageing team with youngsters suddenly be able to win there. Against England - experienced players like Tendulkar + Laxman underperformed and the youngsters were exposed, due to their lack of experience in England.

    Results should be judged 80% the players, 20% coach + captain. As the saying goes a captain is only as good as is team. Michael Clarke strikes me as a good captain - but he is going to get pasted 4 zero, why because the tea are poor. Ricky Ponting was an average captain, Bucannan was a poor coach but they were in charge of an incredible side.

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    Indian sports writer, commentators and fans must realize that this team is in transition and that means it will take time before the 11 players become a team to reckon with in tests... the team has lost 2 openers, no 3, no 5 and their best bowler , if the teams captain is also changed then there is no base to start with, Dhoni has done the right thing, the only senior member now is Tendulkar , who will also retire after playing 200 tests, in the meantime, Dhoni is putting together a team that can at least win at home , before it can dream of winning outside..if during the aussie series one removes the contribution from Ponting and Hussey , then very little was done by the other batsman (clarke excluded).. which means that when you loose people of experience , then at least dont change captain and coach , give them time to rebuild.. if Umesh Yadav , Sreesanth can come back then this could be a good team anywhere...but give it time and let it fail sometimes...

  • POSTED BY dravid_rules on | March 25, 2013, 16:07 GMT

    Aakash's aricle comes at precisely the right time. This home 4-0 victory (though great) cannot paper over all that went before. Even here, I would credit the selection committee more. I would have credited Duncan if he had sat out Sehwag while still in the team. If he could not do this when it was clearly his job (along with Dhoni's), what is he good for? Sandeep Patil used to be a coach. At the time of Duncan's apptmt, I had wished for Patil as coach. Unfortunately, BCCI overlooked him then and there. Fortunately, they are using him as a selector. But Duncan does not seem to be adding anything.

  • POSTED BY srikanths on | March 25, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    Key question is, would say a Gary Kirsten produced a different result with the same team. Answer is yes , but the scoreline would have been 2 or 3-0 in the series that we lost .I agree that a coach has to be judged by results, but my view is, such results should be whether results were better with him than without him and not just whether they won or not.The argument that International players are all finished products is equivalent to saying all are equal to a Tendulkar or Warne. Would Gary Kirsten made a huge difference to Bangaldesh or Zimbabwe, he might have made some difference but could not have made a SA out of them.I am not holding brief for Fletcher , I feel that the role of the coach can only be in strategy , talent spotting, team selection and execution are not in his hands.It is quite possible that Fletcher failed on that count also and he deserves to be shown the door, but on the only premise that a team has been doing badly

  • POSTED BY VijayVK on | March 25, 2013, 0:38 GMT

    Totally disagree with the article. Aakash says " If Virender Sehwag wasn't firing, ought not the coach to have sat him down and talked him into finding a different game plan to succeed?"..if this is true..yours truly was in the team when john wright was the coach. Did he able to fix his technical flaw. He was so successful with the team. He nurtured so many youngsters during that period. But still he could not fix aakash technical flaws. So the national teach coach can guide, advice, plan the strategy and can only provide all inputs. It is upto to the players to perform. Fletcher did his best by bringing all the experience of him. And slowly we are seeing the dividends. If we start changing the coach every 1-2 years then we can never build a team.

  • POSTED BY Batmanindallas on | March 24, 2013, 20:52 GMT

    I like Chopra but this column is not a fair one. Srikanth and company have not done their job as selectors and to put all that on Fletcher is not fair. I am not a fan of Fletcher and would have preferred a younger coach but given old fading stars who the selectors were not ready to replace-you cannot excpect Fletcher to cook a chicken biryani with just chickpeas

  • POSTED BY rick333 on | March 24, 2013, 19:45 GMT

    I dont quite agree in singling out Fletcher. The question to ask is did we or do we have enough any talent in the bowling department? Did/do we groom next crop of bowling attach? Once Zaheer was on downhill there was no respite for indian team - Varun,Umesh,Sreesanth came and broke down. Praveen and Munaf nowhere in sight. Awana, Vinay, Unadkat did not show any promise. Ishant is the last man standing although he blows hot and cold and does not look like he cannot script or lead the pack. Ashwin, Jadeja and Ojha can win us the series @ home but we are always going to struggle in the upcoming tours.

    When the cupboard is bare what is the point in blaming leadership? Its not like we lost the series with Steyn/Philander/Ajmal in our ranks.

  • POSTED BY AVSSUB on | March 24, 2013, 17:23 GMT

    Fletcher walks in as "India's Coach" to a team that just won ODI World Cup, is No 1 ICC Test team. What do you think will be the agenda on his plate? Telling Dravid, VVS, Tendulkar how to play the on-drive? And telling Zaheer how to pay attention to line and length? And tell Dhoni to pay more attention to field placement? His agenda is to oversee transition involving some of the greats of Cricket - and he has been doing that - while letting on-field take care of on-field etc.

  • POSTED BY itischandu on | March 24, 2013, 17:00 GMT

    It was never going to be easy for anyone to coach an ageing side and a team that is bound to go through a tough transition phase .But this is something that was very evident when the coaching job was accepted by Fletcher . So , ideally any excuses for poor showing of the team in the recent past should not be entertained by selectors !!

    The only saving grace for Fletcher is this whitewash at home against Australia . Per Dravid , the Indian dominance against Austrialia was expected as Aussies did not have quality spinners (except Lyon) and young aussie player were bound to struggle against the likes of Ashwin , Ojha etc . The real test for Fletcher and team India was Cook and company , and India failed that test miserably !!

    No matter what the results are , MSD & Co are happy with Fletcher . As Akash said , if you ask students to select a teacher they would happily select a teacher that will make them work LESS !! .But commonsense should still prevail among selectors .

  • POSTED BY AVSSUB on | March 24, 2013, 16:52 GMT

    Fletcher has been tasked with overseeing transition involving separation of Dravid, VVS, SRT, Zaheer and Harbhajan from the Indian team template. These are BIG time departures. (Sehwag, Gambhir and some chops here and there are tactical issues and more of a side-show). During this period, naturally, he is expected to ensure that the team does not implode in to something messy and Gremlin-esq (like the Oz team did, in the past 4 - 5 yrs). "A series loss here and there; or whatever - is OK, but oversee this important $h$t" !! Overseeing stuff like that needs ....., well, certain qualities. When you do thankless jobs like that, you should be well paid. What he is doing - needs to be judged 2 yrs from now - and not on what happened in the past 30 days. Until then, we need to pay him a salalry - sure.

  • POSTED BY Ramski1 on | March 23, 2013, 13:15 GMT

    Also disagree with this article. Coaching India is different to other countries, rightly or wrongly there is much more player power within Team India. DF came into a team with Dravid, Laxman, Tendulkar, Sehwag, Z. Khan, Dhoni.

    A coach should be judged on weather the team wins series it should win and how well the team performs in series it shouldnt. India at their peak were unabe to win In Australia, why would an ageing team with youngsters suddenly be able to win there. Against England - experienced players like Tendulkar + Laxman underperformed and the youngsters were exposed, due to their lack of experience in England.

    Results should be judged 80% the players, 20% coach + captain. As the saying goes a captain is only as good as is team. Michael Clarke strikes me as a good captain - but he is going to get pasted 4 zero, why because the tea are poor. Ricky Ponting was an average captain, Bucannan was a poor coach but they were in charge of an incredible side.

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    Indian sports writer, commentators and fans must realize that this team is in transition and that means it will take time before the 11 players become a team to reckon with in tests... the team has lost 2 openers, no 3, no 5 and their best bowler , if the teams captain is also changed then there is no base to start with, Dhoni has done the right thing, the only senior member now is Tendulkar , who will also retire after playing 200 tests, in the meantime, Dhoni is putting together a team that can at least win at home , before it can dream of winning outside..if during the aussie series one removes the contribution from Ponting and Hussey , then very little was done by the other batsman (clarke excluded).. which means that when you loose people of experience , then at least dont change captain and coach , give them time to rebuild.. if Umesh Yadav , Sreesanth can come back then this could be a good team anywhere...but give it time and let it fail sometimes...

  • POSTED BY dravid_rules on | March 25, 2013, 16:07 GMT

    Aakash's aricle comes at precisely the right time. This home 4-0 victory (though great) cannot paper over all that went before. Even here, I would credit the selection committee more. I would have credited Duncan if he had sat out Sehwag while still in the team. If he could not do this when it was clearly his job (along with Dhoni's), what is he good for? Sandeep Patil used to be a coach. At the time of Duncan's apptmt, I had wished for Patil as coach. Unfortunately, BCCI overlooked him then and there. Fortunately, they are using him as a selector. But Duncan does not seem to be adding anything.

  • POSTED BY srikanths on | March 25, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    Key question is, would say a Gary Kirsten produced a different result with the same team. Answer is yes , but the scoreline would have been 2 or 3-0 in the series that we lost .I agree that a coach has to be judged by results, but my view is, such results should be whether results were better with him than without him and not just whether they won or not.The argument that International players are all finished products is equivalent to saying all are equal to a Tendulkar or Warne. Would Gary Kirsten made a huge difference to Bangaldesh or Zimbabwe, he might have made some difference but could not have made a SA out of them.I am not holding brief for Fletcher , I feel that the role of the coach can only be in strategy , talent spotting, team selection and execution are not in his hands.It is quite possible that Fletcher failed on that count also and he deserves to be shown the door, but on the only premise that a team has been doing badly

  • POSTED BY VijayVK on | March 25, 2013, 0:38 GMT

    Totally disagree with the article. Aakash says " If Virender Sehwag wasn't firing, ought not the coach to have sat him down and talked him into finding a different game plan to succeed?"..if this is true..yours truly was in the team when john wright was the coach. Did he able to fix his technical flaw. He was so successful with the team. He nurtured so many youngsters during that period. But still he could not fix aakash technical flaws. So the national teach coach can guide, advice, plan the strategy and can only provide all inputs. It is upto to the players to perform. Fletcher did his best by bringing all the experience of him. And slowly we are seeing the dividends. If we start changing the coach every 1-2 years then we can never build a team.

  • POSTED BY Batmanindallas on | March 24, 2013, 20:52 GMT

    I like Chopra but this column is not a fair one. Srikanth and company have not done their job as selectors and to put all that on Fletcher is not fair. I am not a fan of Fletcher and would have preferred a younger coach but given old fading stars who the selectors were not ready to replace-you cannot excpect Fletcher to cook a chicken biryani with just chickpeas

  • POSTED BY rick333 on | March 24, 2013, 19:45 GMT

    I dont quite agree in singling out Fletcher. The question to ask is did we or do we have enough any talent in the bowling department? Did/do we groom next crop of bowling attach? Once Zaheer was on downhill there was no respite for indian team - Varun,Umesh,Sreesanth came and broke down. Praveen and Munaf nowhere in sight. Awana, Vinay, Unadkat did not show any promise. Ishant is the last man standing although he blows hot and cold and does not look like he cannot script or lead the pack. Ashwin, Jadeja and Ojha can win us the series @ home but we are always going to struggle in the upcoming tours.

    When the cupboard is bare what is the point in blaming leadership? Its not like we lost the series with Steyn/Philander/Ajmal in our ranks.

  • POSTED BY AVSSUB on | March 24, 2013, 17:23 GMT

    Fletcher walks in as "India's Coach" to a team that just won ODI World Cup, is No 1 ICC Test team. What do you think will be the agenda on his plate? Telling Dravid, VVS, Tendulkar how to play the on-drive? And telling Zaheer how to pay attention to line and length? And tell Dhoni to pay more attention to field placement? His agenda is to oversee transition involving some of the greats of Cricket - and he has been doing that - while letting on-field take care of on-field etc.

  • POSTED BY itischandu on | March 24, 2013, 17:00 GMT

    It was never going to be easy for anyone to coach an ageing side and a team that is bound to go through a tough transition phase .But this is something that was very evident when the coaching job was accepted by Fletcher . So , ideally any excuses for poor showing of the team in the recent past should not be entertained by selectors !!

    The only saving grace for Fletcher is this whitewash at home against Australia . Per Dravid , the Indian dominance against Austrialia was expected as Aussies did not have quality spinners (except Lyon) and young aussie player were bound to struggle against the likes of Ashwin , Ojha etc . The real test for Fletcher and team India was Cook and company , and India failed that test miserably !!

    No matter what the results are , MSD & Co are happy with Fletcher . As Akash said , if you ask students to select a teacher they would happily select a teacher that will make them work LESS !! .But commonsense should still prevail among selectors .

  • POSTED BY AVSSUB on | March 24, 2013, 16:52 GMT

    Fletcher has been tasked with overseeing transition involving separation of Dravid, VVS, SRT, Zaheer and Harbhajan from the Indian team template. These are BIG time departures. (Sehwag, Gambhir and some chops here and there are tactical issues and more of a side-show). During this period, naturally, he is expected to ensure that the team does not implode in to something messy and Gremlin-esq (like the Oz team did, in the past 4 - 5 yrs). "A series loss here and there; or whatever - is OK, but oversee this important $h$t" !! Overseeing stuff like that needs ....., well, certain qualities. When you do thankless jobs like that, you should be well paid. What he is doing - needs to be judged 2 yrs from now - and not on what happened in the past 30 days. Until then, we need to pay him a salalry - sure.

  • POSTED BY Temuzin on | March 24, 2013, 15:41 GMT

    Akash is slipping fast. His article came at a time when Fletcher has just white washed Australia. If he wrote this article at the end of Australian tour (when India lost 2 series 0-8). It would have made some sense.

  • POSTED BY JRO1 on | March 24, 2013, 15:04 GMT

    The all time record of 4:0 (India vs. Australia) silences Fletcher's critics. A victory within 3 days was the icing on the cake. Good to see a coach given an extra chance and see the result now !!

  • POSTED BY kluvsindia on | March 24, 2013, 13:16 GMT

    By trying to compare him with a Gary Kirsten is being unfair and prejudiced... Results are all team oriented and to me the main issue during the bad times was that he and Dhoni did not have much say in selection matters.. Srikkanth just wanted to carry the heavy weights in the team.. making it impossible for the captan and coach to make any changes in the playing 11..Plus this article has no weight as it is coming from a man who has done nothing valuable in the International team

  • POSTED BY Arunav2009 on | March 24, 2013, 6:17 GMT

    Aakash raises interesting point about the lack of tactical nous under Fletcher era. Yes, its well known that an ageing team, injuries and retirements have had an impact on performances under Fletcher era but what has Fletcher done to mitigate those factors ? Team composition remained the same during the series defeats against England and Australia. There was no flexibility or creative thinking in reacting to those situations. Team selection continues to baffle us.Case in point, why was Rahane selected for the 4th Test if the plan was to play him in the middle order? Wouldn't Raina be better suited for that position. Another left hander in the batting line up for Aussie bowlers to deal with. He is a decent spinner too. Tailenders continue to flourish against Indian attack, while Indian tailenders seems to be in a hurry to get back to bowl.What is Fletcher doing about that ? Yes, it will take time to build a young team but that won't be possible with the current tactical meandering

  • POSTED BY praful_cric on | March 24, 2013, 2:27 GMT

    Superb article once again by Akash. It is really a big question that after disaster results in Test cricket, how come Fletcher and Dhoni are allowed to stay. May be because BCCI dont worry about Test cricket anymore and they are happy with coaches who happily relieve the players from International duties for IPL. I wonder where is Zaheer Khan in such an important series against Australia. I am sure he will be playing for IPL next week.

  • POSTED BY on | March 24, 2013, 2:11 GMT

    i agree to u..aakash chopra..and it means that we havent learnt from past yet..we have had exprericed the coaches who dint had any luck in first few periods of their and then they had not had an impressive performances..and thus i think it may prove a wrong call from BCCI

  • POSTED BY Mr_Anonymous on | March 24, 2013, 0:42 GMT

    The problem over the last 2 years has been that because of our culture which adores superstars and makes God(s) out of our players, we tend to lose sight of the fact that players are human. So, if the selection committee is not strong enough, players are persisted with based on their "status" even if they are not in form with the hope that they will strike form "soon". That thinking needs a change and non-performing players need to be taken out more quickly to provide upcoming talent adequate opportunities and for providing non-performing players the time to sort out their issues.

    The new selection committee has started doing that (the true test will come in overseas tours).

    The players need to take the responsibility to work out their issues (like for Viru and Rohit, it is temperament, not talent) themselves. At the end of the day, they are the ones whose record(s) need to speak for themselves and they own the path that they want their career to take.

  • POSTED BY Mr_Anonymous on | March 24, 2013, 0:42 GMT

    Aakash, it seems clear to me that you do not have a very high regard for Duncan Fletcher (DF). While, I think it was a good time to actually try someone else before the 2015 World Cup and give that new person 2 years, I cannot have too much heartburn over giving DF an extension. You have to understand the role of a coach is to work with the players on improving their skills. I think DF needs to be given an explicit charter of guiding young batsmen like Raina, Rahane, Rohit, Manoj, Chand, Zol, Kohli etc to play to their full potential over the next 2 years. If they lack talent or temperament, the coach cannot compensate for that. The coach can hone their skill if they have it and are open to working on it.

    Similarly Joe Dawes needs to be given a similar charter for fast bowlers like: Ishant, Umesh, Varun, Bhuvi, Praveen, Sreesanth, Shami, Dhawal, Munaf etc. At the end of the day players are responsible for their results. Continued...

  • POSTED BY Kapil_Choudhary on | March 24, 2013, 0:38 GMT

    Excellent points made by Akash here. Fletcher's extension seems to have stumped everybody. However, the basic thing with Fletcher is simply that no one has any clue WHAT he is doing, let alone HOW he is doing it, simply because he doesn't talk to the media and even the players don't talk about him to the media other than the standard "he's doing a good job". We don't know his role in the two big retirements, we don't know his views on selection, we don't know his influence on Dhoni's captaincy, we just don't know ANYTHING. So, all our opinions and analysis, including this article, is basically just guess work. The one thing we do know is results - which haven't been good - but then again, his extension came at a time when India is probably having its best series ever against Australia who, at least before this series, still carried a huge aura around them in the eyes of most Indian fans. So deciphering Fletcher's extension is basically just flying blind.

  • POSTED BY kh1902 on | March 23, 2013, 23:29 GMT

    The writer has hit the nail on the head. Fletcher should be made accountable for the team's failings, just like any player or administrator. He has been retained because he picks up his fat pay cheque without questioning the BCCI. The Indian team has been too defensive in its approach, particularly overseas. Such a failure in strategy is entirely down to the coach and captain. The media and public are quick to complain about ageing players. What about ageing coaches who are happy to be paid handsomely without performing? Don't they lack pride in their performance as well?

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 22:54 GMT

    this is one of the articles where i do not agree with aakash. Coaches dont win you games, players do. We failed in England and Aus because of lack of depth in our bowling and batting dept. We just dont have a bowing attack to take 20 wickets abroad. as far as batting is concerned we have to give some time to th younger blokes. If gary kirsten coaches the current Bangladesh team i dont think he will be succusful. This is not because gary is bad but more to do with the talent bangladesh have. The job of a coach in a team game is more managerial than technical.

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | March 23, 2013, 22:51 GMT

    Some people say team in transition , fletcher is in rebuilding phase etc. For me its simple. He is not the coach india need. Reason india even winning because of dhoni's luck. Nothing else. You put any captain in place of dhoni , india would have lost more. Dhoni 's calm under pressure works well when his batsman able to survive and put up runs. When they did n't make runs , he did in chennai. Also dhoni kinda python if you give him runs. He waits waits and wait opposition fall for the trap he sets. he succeeds 99%. For me fletcher contribution to the team is next to nothing. I have not seen one player say fletcher did this for me etc. Because there is nothing good to say about fletcher. That said India always won in India. Even that Fletcher team lost home series against england. This aussie team losing is comparatively aussies are badly coached than india. PERIOD. Everything relative people. Do not go gaga over 3-1 win over australia

  • POSTED BY seeknshare on | March 23, 2013, 22:38 GMT

    Congratulations, Ashish for the gutsy article. Other Indian commentators (e.g. Harsha) would NOT dare to write about anything controversial like this, to safeguard "their interests". Indian cricket's interest...hell with it. Thanks for calling the spade the spade.

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 21:38 GMT

    A coach is only as good as the players he has at his disposal. I take the point that a coach should work with a player like Gambhir on technical issues. Given Fletcher's record with England on things like bringing the forward press into play against spinners, then is it feasible that it's actually Gambhir who hasn't done the work here and not Fletcher? Right now, it's the first time that you have an Indian Test side who is truly Fletcher's to my mind. The like of Zaheer and Singh are far from starting, Dravid and Laxman are gone, and Tendulkar really should consider his spot. Fletcher likes a fairly clean slate to do his best work. There's enough new blood and inexperienced cricketers in there for him to work with. After all, when Fletcher came in, what is he really going to teach Dravid, Laxman, and Tendulkar about batting?

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | March 23, 2013, 21:21 GMT

    This is a short-sighted article. When Fletcher took over as coach, he inherited a side full of players at the end of their careers. Dravid and Laxman were nearing retirement. Sehwag, Gambhir and Bhaji weren't playing well. Zaheer was permanently injured. Tendulkar was a shadow of his former self.. Fletcher was given the unenviable task of replacing these legends.

    The transition isn't complete, but India now has the nucleus of a decent side again. Vijay, Dhawan, Pujara and Kohli seem to be test class batsmen. Ashwin and Jadeja have done well as spinning all-rounders. Ojha looks a good bowler and Bhuvi Kumar has become an excellent swing bowler. Yadav has been injured for most of the season, but is the first genuine pace bowler India has had for a while. These are all young players and inevitably their introduction hasn't been smooth, but this series against Australia has shown they are making progress.

    Credit Fletcher with their success, don't blame him because the legends got old.

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 20:50 GMT

    A capatain and coach are as good as their team. By your standards...which to be honest cannot be that high given your failure to step up despite potential under good coaches. Based on your own analogy you should have been dumped from team earlier because your game never rose to the mark. The previous selection panel and past players felt they had more than enough to continue the high from the WC win. Fact is they werent good enough against a very good English team at home, and struggled abroad. You are telling me the collective failures of Gautam, Sehwag, Dravid, Laxman etc was mismanaged by Fletcher. Could it not be that these players were not upto it plain and simple. Zaheer being unfit (shape) cannot be undone once he is selected. Fletcher was dealt this hand and he played it best he could. I believe he is very good technician for youngsters who do not have access to his knowledge coming up the ranks in India. Lets see how the current lot does before we cast him off.

  • POSTED BY Anubhav-the-Experience on | March 23, 2013, 19:49 GMT

    In India, having a coach or not having a coach is over-hyped really..what you need in a coach in India is not to control players because that approach will inevitably lead to failure but actually enhance their game and help them and make friends with them. Enjoy the process yourself and you will get success...John Wright and Gary Kirsten did exactly that. I think you need a batting consultant and bowling consultant and a quarterly basis fielding coach and a physio team...that's it. Strategy should be handled by Captain and an Indian manager.

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | March 23, 2013, 19:35 GMT

    One or two inaccuracies here, I think, Aakash. First, (yr para 3) I am fairly certain that in the terms of the contract that the BCCI agreed with Fletcher was one clause that said that he was not to speak to the media. DF has never been media-friendly anyway, but the condition - so true to the never-seek-to-explain attitude of the BCCI has not helped his image with the media such as yrself let alone the public of India. Secondly, re: tactical decisions at Lord's 2011, Heavens above, Aakash, surely you don't think that Dhoni is the sort of personality or captain not to have his own mind? The manner in which India was captained by MSD thr'out that summer left a lot to be desired, yet it seems that you blame DF for all the misfortunes of that tour. Now, I am no great fan of DF, but I think that India's recent resurgence v Oz, with the letting go of the old guard & the intoduction of new & exciting players has much to do with DF. It is now becoming the team he wants, not one he inherited.

  • POSTED BY nam1115 on | March 23, 2013, 18:06 GMT

    The usually balanced Aakash Chopra is completely off on his analysis about the current Indian Coach. Great teams go through transition phases and Indian team is no different. You had Indian fast bowlers falling by the wayside in England & Australia to inuries and other things; Indian established batsmen didn't fare well either. And we just don't have a good enough pipleine of incoming fast bowlers who can play 6-8 years consistently anymore. Blame the whole system - states and BCCI for that; a coach doesn't control those things. A captain is as good as his team, a coach is as good as the overall talent at his disposal. He might be able to extract about 10-20% extra from someone and nothing more than that, & we had a jaw dropping deficit all around at the same time. The current Indian team playing in India has shown some glimpses of developing into a good unit in a couple of years, & I'm sure whomever comes in the next two years as Indian coach will start smelling like roses again.

  • POSTED BY zoot on | March 23, 2013, 17:23 GMT

    Flectcher should go. The disasters against Australia and England at home were completely predictable. It looks like he has only changed the side now because he has been totally forced to. It is difficult to see what positive benefits he has brought.

  • POSTED BY Vishal_07 on | March 23, 2013, 16:47 GMT

    I agree with Aakash here. Fletcher has contributed nothing to this team or rather pulled it backwards. I realize that these are international players we are talking about who should know what they are doing on field.

    But here is Exhibit A: against Australia for 4 Tests straight Indian team had just one plan, same exact team, same combination of players, same bowling when clearly the plan wasn't up to the task. As a coach it is absolutely his responsibility to come up with Plan B or Plan C if Plan A is not working.

    I would rate Fletcher same as Greg Chappell though latter was much more harmful to the team, but results are the same. For the Indian team we need somebody like a Wright, in whose era players started believing in the team, or a Kirsten, when again the team played like one unit.

  • POSTED BY realfan on | March 23, 2013, 16:09 GMT

    my point of view as why fletcher is not good coach FOR india 1)he is good text book coach, but he need to be practical when it comes to coaching india (thats why garry and wright stood out in whole other level) 2)indian players and their ego- coach should sit down with players and discuss the problems(not to commend them as you should play like this, that etc) thats where again garry and wright stood up (i can give you one player example. shewag- when he was introduced to test he was initially asked whether he will open or not.wright did not force him to open.and he did not try to change his batting style.and wright gone, in comes graig.he was all over with sehwag's batting style. result his form lost and they droped him again in comes garry, brought back sehwag, ofcourse sehwag lacks bit technique in batting, but garry has faith in him and he instead of changing his batting style, he added some talent to it, result we saw) fletcher is good coach for teams which learn in text book styl

  • POSTED BY InnocentGuy on | March 23, 2013, 16:09 GMT

    It's Fletcher's fault to some extent, true. But then again, I don't know just how much power he has over team selection within the BCCI. Nevertheless, I'm sure whatever power (or lack of it) Fletcher has, it was the same with Kirsten too and Kirsten did a magnificent job. If we can't compare with coaches of other teams, we sure can compare with other Indian coaches of the past. John Wright did a fantastic job transforming Indian cricket. Gary Kirsten took the team to heights previously unknown to Indian cricket. Duncan Fletcher is just taking this team back to how it was in the early 90s. I think he lacks imagination and he is too orthodox and conservative in his methods. But it looks like the BCCI is, for some inexplicable reason, of the assumption that that's what team India needs at the moment. Whatever.

  • POSTED BY thinktank1 on | March 23, 2013, 15:07 GMT

    The article is very long and very boring. A concise article would be better.

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 14:41 GMT

    Why everyone is so keen abt blaming India for domminica test... the pitch was not there for strokeplay and runs were hard to come by... India required around 85 runs in 15 ovs which is practically impossible and since Suresh raina even couldn't hit sixes it was called off.. This is not a mistake but just common sense...

    Had India played those 15ovs and then couldn;t win, then these guys will understand..

  • POSTED BY sents2013 on | March 23, 2013, 14:30 GMT

    We cannot blame a coach for players going out of form, If we rested Zaheer, Harbhajan, Sehwag, Gambhir, (Yuvraj was never a test player) and replaced with the young players against England, we could have won the test series. I would have asked Dravid to play only in the tests for some more time. Also Sachin Tendulkar to play in the ODI's for some more time(he was struggling in the test never in ODI). Dhoni and Flutcher should have asked them to reconsider. Their retirement are mistakes, apart from that. Resting players for poor form is a good thing. Also in the current test match, we should have tried Badrinath or Wassim Jaffer instead of Rahane. Also I don't think so any other coach would have done a great job with a team filled swith formless class players.

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 13:51 GMT

    Pull_shot, I'll try & re-word what I think Akash is trying to say - In a professional organization, self-respecting performers would normally give non-performers 2 options - shape up OR ship-out. DF has done none of that (he has not got the top 6 batsmen to shape up, he has not asked for their replacement). Result - Fletcher has burried Team India under a 0-8 loss & then, a further home series loss to England. He still found favor with BCCI - that raises questions on the existence of the below - 1. BCCI's cricketing commonselse. 2. Fletcher's self-respect.

    Raina, Rahane, Tiwary et al are warming benches while a non-performing Sachin continues to bat at # 4. Sachin is a walking wicket for any bowler who pitches the ball up ! If Fletcher can't get Sachin to score OR get him out of the playing 11, Fletcher is useless for the improvement of Indian Cricket. Fletcher does not deserve a coach's salary. If he is getting that money, it is reasonable to ask - WHY ?

  • POSTED BY Stuart_Watson on | March 23, 2013, 13:41 GMT

    It's perhaps a little unfair to Fletcher to criticise him for tactical decisions taken on the pitch. We have no way of knowing who was responsible for those decisions to what degree, and ultimately the captain is answerable for them. The failure to address players' technical shortcomings is perhaps another matter - Harbhajan's continued decline is baffling - but again we don't know if sage advice was offered by Fletcher and rejected by players unwilling to change their methods. Fletcher's media silence makes it terribly difficult to apportion praise or blame when it comes to the internal workings of the Indian team, and that's clearly the way that Fletcher, Dhoni and the BCCI like it.

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 13:40 GMT

    Aakash says "If he(Fletcher) is not producing results, either the players under his charge should be changed or he himself must make way". That is exactly what has happened to the Indian Team now, albeit a little late. It is not that easy to drop the Non-Performing Stars. The Team Management had given some of the players a longer run despite poor form. That is why it has taken this long.

    Since Fletcher has been given an Extension , the BCCI would have definitely seen something in him. It is very easy for commentators to go by the Stats and decide the captain and coach. Captaincy and Coaching is much more than the stats. We can comment on how good Fletcher is at the end of the WC 2015.

  • POSTED BY cloudmess on | March 23, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    While I can understand Chopra's views, I feel there's a lack of imagination with this article, as there has always been regarding the general perception of Fletcher's qualities. He should not have been appointed India's coach in 2011 - he was the wrong kind of coach for such a role, and I was not all that surprised when results plummeted. A great technician, a fine man-manager, Fletcher's great strengths have always been about getting the best out of mediocre sides. He is less good with top sides, as he is prone to be cautious and afraid to try anything too innovative or left-field (unlike, say, John Buchnanan). India is now undergoing a generational change, with some young players coming through, and as things stand, this is where Flethcer might now come into his own. It is notable that a side now shorn of all its 00s stars (with the exception of SRT), is playing so well against Australia. His extension is probably the very best thing Indian cricket could now do.

  • POSTED BY thegoodgame on | March 23, 2013, 12:38 GMT

    I think Fletcher was brought in with the mandate of replacing the ageing Indian team with new blood and helping with the transition. Maybe he had a hand in the retirement of some of the ageing stars and the dropping of Sehwag and Gambhir and Zaheer?

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 12:30 GMT

    @AMAZINGFAN Akash definitely has some valid points, and he backed them up with solid reasoning and the Jason Gillespie example. So, just because you disagree with him he's not a good analyst? In the Ojha article he wasn't comparing Ojha with Jadeja, it was more of a comparison with Harbhajan because Ojha's place was taken by Harbhajan. Akash was proved absolutely right because Ojha was picked in the next test, just one or two days after the article was published. And who told you Akash wasn't a 'good player'? He did an amazing job as a test opener, I think, and was simply a victim of team politics. But that's only my opinion.

  • POSTED BY ramli on | March 23, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    May be Aakash chopra was interested in coaching India after DF ... rues missed opportunity ... India lost tests owing to miserable batting by so-called stars and ever-annoying mediocre bowling ... it is no matter whether DF WAS there or not ... it will not matter whether DF IS there or not ... it will take India a long time to climb up the ladder ... whomsoever had taken over

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    duncan fletcher dint do anything different in this ind aus series !! its tht vijay,jadeja ,ashwin,pujara and dhawan perforned well and dhoni suddenly hit form thts it !! duncan had done nothing !! all above mentioned players are great ranji players so i dont think duncan shd be applauded for this showing by india !! obly dhoni shd deserve all the credit becoz he is the one who brought the team together !! thank god finally we kicked out non performing liabilities in the team lije zak,sehwag,bhajji,gambhir !! next in line shd be ishant once we get umesh yadav back kick out ishant we hav seen enough of him !! i hope rahane and mukund ,manoj tiwary ,rayudu,rohit sharma are the next ones in the line to be on fringes and hope they all make it count !! and in fast bowlers ishwar pandey,sandeep sharma,pankaj singh,siddarth kaul,asok dinda and shami ahmed all shd be getting a look in if we want to form a team for the future !!

  • POSTED BY venkatesh018 on | March 23, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    When has the BCCI ever been forward-looking? Just like the 0-8 loss overseas has been swept under the rubble and dust of the "square turners" prepared against Australia, the chance to appoint a more proactive coach also has gone abegging.

  • POSTED BY pull_shot on | March 23, 2013, 12:17 GMT

    its simple to criticize any one. always u should not judge seeing stats alone. what can duccan can do when indian star players does not perform .indian media made dhoni and duccan as scapegoats.

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 11:52 GMT

    I too disagree with AKASH..i believe in correction of process which leads to results and changes in the HUMAN RESOURCE may be the last thing i will do in the process which leads to giving appropriate results unless i am sure it is that resource which is ineffective. Indian Cricket players of past have instinctive ability of changing the resource first than correcting the process, i believe Akash belong to the same school of that instinct of changing human resource.,

    I guess AUSSIE cricket is going thru the same way..

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 11:49 GMT

    I totally agree with Aakash here. Fletcher has done nothing to deserve an extension. Kirsten was able to bring the best out of our aging stars, like Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Zaheer and so on. Fletcher has simply been quiet behind the scenes and you get the feeling that he's only there just to fill the backroom staff almost. He hasn't earned his salary and he simply should not have been given an extension.

  • POSTED BY ultimatewarrior on | March 23, 2013, 10:40 GMT

    That's very true and I am very much agree to the Aakash.....But my theory behind extension is little different i.e. Duncan Fletcher is a very cool & neutral kind of a Coach i.e. Neither he inspires the team like Kirsten(by drilling and practicing with the team instead of just watching). Nor he Over-inspires like Greg Chapel(by doing everything to achieve team greatness and sidelining individual greatness)....So then comes the Captain and I think MSD is the main person behind this extension as well success and failure of the team, he is using Fletcher as a facilitator of his requirements like feedback to BCCI of players for team selections or dropping from team...so in a nutshell Duncan Fletcher is a yes man for MSD nothing else....Altogether its working in home against a not much prepared team like Aussies but we have to see in South Africa and more tours...

  • POSTED BY mukesh_LOVE.cricket on | March 23, 2013, 9:50 GMT

    have to disagree with aakash chopra on this , fletcher was forced to play with a team full of aging stars in England and Australia , as a result even though there was some big names they were all at the end of their career and way past their peak , like sehwag , sachin , vvs , zaheer ... even rahul dravid failed to live up to his usual high standards by the Australian tour.. and in India everyone knows senior players are untouchable , remember what happened to greg chappel ??

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 8:47 GMT

    Well may be he is friends with the right people here. I dont know where you got the input that he does not talk to players. Are you just assuming it? Or did u get a genuine input from your friends may be inside the dressing room. Either ways, I totally agree that fletcher does not deserve the extension. Dissmal record. Wasnt happy with the appointment itself in the first place. Sometimes it is so difficult to rationalize the choices made by the selectors and management. You always feel there is something other than cricket that is influencing their decisions.

  • POSTED BY Rajeshj on | March 23, 2013, 7:54 GMT

    I disagree with your assessments, Aakash.. I don't think its right to measure the value of Fletcher on the disastrous Aussie and England tours..Even Dhoni was criticized for his captaincy back then..I would say Indian team was stuck down by playing stars rather then their true merit.. the aging stars were reluctant to walk away.. the non-performing stars were reluctant to accept even basic stats which showed they underperformed for nearly two years.. In a country like India, what can Fletcher alone do.. he could have decided to drop Viru or Gambhir back then, but he would have been mercilessly taunted by Media.. The recent England tour was an eye-opener for every one.. and with a good selection panel under Sandeep patil, we have a new team in this Aussie series and we see good results so far... common sense would be to allow it to continue for the next year. I think BCCI did something with common sense this time..Dhoni is back to his natural flair..and Fletcher deserves credit for it..

  • POSTED BY eGVishal on | March 23, 2013, 7:31 GMT

    I have followed and enjoyed your article but this is out of place. For one India is doing well against Aussies for whatever reason it may be, Second terms of coach were still to be opened infront of public to know what are the changes because currently coaches have hands tied, they do not follow first class cricket. This should be mandatory and coach should also be responsible for looking at the talent.

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 7:06 GMT

    As rightly pointed out by Akash chopra, Duncan Fletcher's contribution during the current period is minimal, it seems. As his wont, he keeps silent whatever happens in the team. We didn't have much success in this period. So it was predicted that he his job may be on the line. But to everybody's surprise, his coaching contract his extended by one more year and may be two years also. As happening everywhere, we are also undergoing transition period after the retirement of Dravid, Laaxman and Ganguly. In these times, the coach play important role in taking the team forward with the youngsters and advising/guiding erring senior players with the change in the technique. We don't know any such thing is happening in our team. No percetible change is visible. Nodoubt Dhoni & Srinivasan have a say in the selection of coach. It's high time better sense prevail at least now onwards by Fletcher and take the team to dizzy heights.

  • POSTED BY Sir.Ivor on | March 23, 2013, 6:33 GMT

    Duncan Fletcher is a highly rated coach because of his success with the England team. He made them very good from being the perennial poor seconds of the past. Most of the England players hold him in great respect because of how much they have gained under his guidance. Cook,Pietersen and Strauss have publicly lauded Duncan for his knowledge and ability to set right an error in technique for batsman.His venerability and standing made his legend precede him as far as coaching India is concerned.Though India had some initial success under him it was the rout in England and Australia followed by the home loss that has sent Fletcher's stock plumetting.The point is that there may be some reasons for India's abysmal show under him.For instance,he does not have a say in selection and is probably has not been a good communicator thus far because of language barriers. But I would say that since he has a great history in spotting talent and correcting techniques, he should have been at the NCA.

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 6:31 GMT

    The indian senior players like gambhir and sehwag are so conceited that they wont even talk abt their technical shortcomings to the coach. we all know the audacity of Gambhir when he said he and viru are the best opening pair in the country when they were failing. To thrust the blame on fletcher is a bad precendence,this is not football for god's sake where manager controls everything. India is the only country where the player is given an opportunity to end his career.

  • POSTED BY jasonpete on | March 23, 2013, 6:29 GMT

    The point is Indian senior players never listen to coaches unless the coach changes himself and do according to the Indian star batsmen.Greg tried to do the same and control the players but then everyone knows what happened to him by doing so.You can't drop a non performing senior players in Indian team or else you end up with former ex players support and criticism towards the new bunch of selectors.Its very hard to be a coach for an Indian team as every individual players have a huge fan base and someone gets dropped,the captain and coach gets the abuse.If coach don't do anything and keep the non performing seniors in the team,,then the same ex players ask for a change and when you drop players like sehwag,they question the axe.sehwag and Gambhir continue to deny their slump for past two years and boasting tht they are the best openers for india even now,How could a coach can teach them when they don't realise their technical faults? Easy to blame the coach for Indian star culture.

  • POSTED BY AMAZINGFAN on | March 23, 2013, 6:28 GMT

    not a great article from akash chopra(same man who said ojha will be more effective than jadeja),IND struggled in eng and aus because of poor batting and bowling,and players like sehwag,gambhir were playing politics within the team.....akash chopra wasn't a good player at international level and here he proved that he isn't a good analyst.....cricinfo pls publish

  • POSTED BY analyseabhishek on | March 23, 2013, 6:28 GMT

    The problems are as follows- 1. Fletcher wanted to strike a rapport with the players who were all superstars and with the WC and no 1 ranking with them, had immensely bloated egos. 2. He knew that Greg Chappell way of open talk and hard work doesn't work 3. Hence he confined himself to giving inputs and did not bother about whether players like Sehwag or Gambhir were implementing them. Speculation can be done as follows: 1. Like MSD, Fletcher also prefers young guns with enthusiasm, fitness and fielding skills. He is now getting them as seniors have gradually retired (the only possible way in fan-atical India) or finally dropped. 2. This means he is in good books of the captain, and the establishment. In the Indian structure, seniority matters and now that he spent 2 years in the system, he would had started gaining some authority! Why waste that and start afresh- must have been the question in front of the BCCI.

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 6:26 GMT

    Could agree more Aakash. Fletcher's period in Indian cricket is the period where India after a historic WC win, surrendered its Test No.1 ranking, lost back to back overseas test series 0-4 in a rather humiliating manner, lost to England at home, crashed out of a T20 WC, lost Virender Sehwag(the most dynamic batsman that India produced after SRT), lost Zaheer Khan(India's best fast bowler after KD) and still the man is being persisted with expecting positive results?? The man who himself neither looks fit nor healthy. He never addresses the media, so we dont know whats the team thought process is like, unlike a dynamic Gary Kirsten. I am sure he is less interefering with Dhoni's tactics and thats why is probably being backed by Dhoni. I find no other corroboration to the fact that a team which was on the upswing, suddenly lost its way and the man in charge is not being blamed for it. And this probable 4-0 Aussie whitewash doesnt mean much, does it??

  • POSTED BY surya-sachinist on | March 23, 2013, 6:22 GMT

    @sriramNatarajan: How can one say seniors are not ready to sit with coach and rectify their mistakes? Remember the comments gave by zaheer and sehwag and kirsten. They were at the best of their form during kirstens tenure. A coach who is an expert in playing FIFA 2013 in his laptop cannot teach anything to players. Remember, of all the coaches in the world he is the person who holds the record of having lost 11 test out 12 against australia in australia.

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | March 23, 2013, 6:22 GMT

    Worst coach in the world. Period. India wining at home because of Dhoni's luck nothing else. period. Any other reasons are just clueless speculation

  • POSTED BY henchart on | March 23, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    Fletcher has not covered himself with glory as Coach of Indian team but people often miss the point that barring a trip to New Zealand in Spring of 2009 where Gambhir batted like demon, Indians never toured overseas when Kirsten was the Coach. As for Tendulkar ,he is a cult figure and would decide when he has to leave.It should not be the case but unfortunately that is how it is in India and especially when it comes to Tendulkar.Won't be surprised if he squeezes in one more year if India whitewash Australia.

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 6:08 GMT

    Srinivasan (BCCI) - on elongating Fletcher's term: We know Fletcher is a very good coach, but having looked his records we felt he needs a completely rotten team to make it the best. So his first assignment was to make the No1 test team in the world a non sense and then make them look like phoenix, rising from the ashes. And he has so far done wonderfully.

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 6:01 GMT

    DISAGREE WITH YOU , poor article , cant believe it is from you , i hope u aware indian team in transition period, apart from the england and australia tour test matches, the fletcher period is average , let it be

    what abt failures in australia and england series,

    shewag,gambir,laxman,sachin,yuvaraj, all the batsman are failed

    do u expect flecther to bat, we rebilding our team , give support,

    can u suggest a few names instead of fletcher,

    poor articel

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 5:54 GMT

    India are now on the verge of a historic whitewash, and surprisingly not on the receiving end. Maybe Dhoni & Fletcher were waiting for the old guard to retire before being able to stamp their authority and mould the team the way they want without politics and egos. I think the next few series will be a good indicator of Fletcher's contribution. You can already see the positivity in Dhoni's captaincy in this series. Retaining Fletcher might not be a bad idea.

  • POSTED BY Soumen2013 on | March 23, 2013, 5:53 GMT

    Probably, Fletcher can owe his retention to his indifference to the problems Aakash has pointed out. Dhoni and Srinivasan call the shots right now and that has resulted in a lot of weird decisions. The Dominica test is a case in point. Fletcher, obviously, has not tried hard enough to nudge failing seniors into form. Probably, given the kind of culture the present regime has bred, he found it futile and decided to stay quiet. The Indian cricket team's coach's job is a lucrative one and no one with practical senses would want to risk it. An overly outgoing and proactive coach, in the Indian cricket coach, brings some perils -- no one has forgotten Chappell's tenure. Kirsten and Wright were never known to be too outgoing, but they produced results. Fletcher seems to be almost totally aloof, and unwilling to rock the prima donna culture in the Indian cricket team. That, however, seems to suit the current regime just perfectly.

  • POSTED BY Pinarsh255 on | March 23, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    ...continue...Dravid and Laxman are also good but they are recently retired and it seems that they are having a go at broadcasting. Dada may be too big a personality for this job, but given his past record of identifying and backing the right talent, I feel he will produce results or step down on his own. If the crieteria is to be a non-Indian, then Stephen Fleming may be a good candidate. I am not a hardcore CSK fan, but logically thinking, he must be sharing a special rappot with Dhoni. He was a good strategist in his time, known to extract the best of his palyers, he is not retired long before, has no iclination for media spot-light and though in T20, he has results to show. But I want to see Jumbo.

  • POSTED BY Pinarsh255 on | March 23, 2013, 4:46 GMT

    Fletcher should have been changed or never appointed at the first place. Nasser Hussain may have very high regards for him, he might have done very good things in English cricket, but his methods are clearly not working with us. Why to persist with him and he has been given a fair run. Any Indian coach would have been sacked by now. If I am not wrong then BCCI sacked V. Prasad as bowling coach for reasons best known to them. I think our fast bowlers were improving under his guidance. I clearly see no evident contribution from Joe Dawes. India has produced so many great cricketers. Anil Kumble is appointed as the chief mentor of MI team. Why can't our board make a small humble request to him. I think he is the best man do the job.

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 4:40 GMT

    aakash chopra, perhaps, is the only Indian expert, who is candid in his analysis though when it comes to sachin it is lost. for about three years now he had done little and now newspapers report sachin guiding ishant and harbhajan in their bowling. is there anyone to tell sachin he has to learn his batting anew. if sehwag and gauti can be dropped why not sachin? maybe experts including aakash want sachin to play 200 tests.

  • POSTED BY indianfan535 on | March 23, 2013, 4:07 GMT

    Really nice article by Mr. Chopra, but there are some flaws. Who's to say that he didn't help Gambhir rectify his technical shortcomings? How can the author know unless he knows the working of the camp? Maybe Gambhir just couldn't adjust fast enough to the new style. No one becomes a bad coach overnight, and Fletcher has had superb success with England. He was, and still is, highly regarded by most people, and instead of looking behind us and bemoaning our results overseas, we ought to look forward to what we can achieve under Fletcher in the coming years, and how we can build on this success against Australia.

  • POSTED BY Simoc on | March 23, 2013, 4:01 GMT

    Obviously Fletcher is good at power point presentations and speaks well when dining out with the decision makers. At test level you don't need a coach; your team mates should be helping out and a batting or bowling coach is always on call. It's more like golf than football and coaches can promote themselves. Fletcher avoids the hard part of the job , the media, and who knows what he contributes to India. At a guess a hefty salary for zero benefit, like Arthur in Australia, and Gibson in WI. Strangely the much maligned (by me) Hesson in NZ seems to have galvanised B McCullum into action and the team are fighting harder than previously.

  • POSTED BY SriramNatarajan on | March 23, 2013, 3:43 GMT

    Are Indian players ready to sit with coaches and sort out their problems, especially seniors? Indian senior players do not want to sit out of the games even when they are doing poor. And they do not want to be told that they are out of form. From the time India won the world cup till England series, Gambhir, Sehwag, Sachin, Dhoni, Zaheer, Harbhajan have not been in form they used to be in before. And all of them have been telling that they are doing well, only the runs/wkts are not coming. How can a coach teach them what to do if they don't recognize the problem?

  • POSTED BY SriramNatarajan on | March 23, 2013, 3:43 GMT

    Are Indian players ready to sit with coaches and sort out their problems, especially seniors? Indian senior players do not want to sit out of the games even when they are doing poor. And they do not want to be told that they are out of form. From the time India won the world cup till England series, Gambhir, Sehwag, Sachin, Dhoni, Zaheer, Harbhajan have not been in form they used to be in before. And all of them have been telling that they are doing well, only the runs/wkts are not coming. How can a coach teach them what to do if they don't recognize the problem?

  • POSTED BY Simoc on | March 23, 2013, 4:01 GMT

    Obviously Fletcher is good at power point presentations and speaks well when dining out with the decision makers. At test level you don't need a coach; your team mates should be helping out and a batting or bowling coach is always on call. It's more like golf than football and coaches can promote themselves. Fletcher avoids the hard part of the job , the media, and who knows what he contributes to India. At a guess a hefty salary for zero benefit, like Arthur in Australia, and Gibson in WI. Strangely the much maligned (by me) Hesson in NZ seems to have galvanised B McCullum into action and the team are fighting harder than previously.

  • POSTED BY indianfan535 on | March 23, 2013, 4:07 GMT

    Really nice article by Mr. Chopra, but there are some flaws. Who's to say that he didn't help Gambhir rectify his technical shortcomings? How can the author know unless he knows the working of the camp? Maybe Gambhir just couldn't adjust fast enough to the new style. No one becomes a bad coach overnight, and Fletcher has had superb success with England. He was, and still is, highly regarded by most people, and instead of looking behind us and bemoaning our results overseas, we ought to look forward to what we can achieve under Fletcher in the coming years, and how we can build on this success against Australia.

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 4:40 GMT

    aakash chopra, perhaps, is the only Indian expert, who is candid in his analysis though when it comes to sachin it is lost. for about three years now he had done little and now newspapers report sachin guiding ishant and harbhajan in their bowling. is there anyone to tell sachin he has to learn his batting anew. if sehwag and gauti can be dropped why not sachin? maybe experts including aakash want sachin to play 200 tests.

  • POSTED BY Pinarsh255 on | March 23, 2013, 4:46 GMT

    Fletcher should have been changed or never appointed at the first place. Nasser Hussain may have very high regards for him, he might have done very good things in English cricket, but his methods are clearly not working with us. Why to persist with him and he has been given a fair run. Any Indian coach would have been sacked by now. If I am not wrong then BCCI sacked V. Prasad as bowling coach for reasons best known to them. I think our fast bowlers were improving under his guidance. I clearly see no evident contribution from Joe Dawes. India has produced so many great cricketers. Anil Kumble is appointed as the chief mentor of MI team. Why can't our board make a small humble request to him. I think he is the best man do the job.

  • POSTED BY Pinarsh255 on | March 23, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    ...continue...Dravid and Laxman are also good but they are recently retired and it seems that they are having a go at broadcasting. Dada may be too big a personality for this job, but given his past record of identifying and backing the right talent, I feel he will produce results or step down on his own. If the crieteria is to be a non-Indian, then Stephen Fleming may be a good candidate. I am not a hardcore CSK fan, but logically thinking, he must be sharing a special rappot with Dhoni. He was a good strategist in his time, known to extract the best of his palyers, he is not retired long before, has no iclination for media spot-light and though in T20, he has results to show. But I want to see Jumbo.

  • POSTED BY Soumen2013 on | March 23, 2013, 5:53 GMT

    Probably, Fletcher can owe his retention to his indifference to the problems Aakash has pointed out. Dhoni and Srinivasan call the shots right now and that has resulted in a lot of weird decisions. The Dominica test is a case in point. Fletcher, obviously, has not tried hard enough to nudge failing seniors into form. Probably, given the kind of culture the present regime has bred, he found it futile and decided to stay quiet. The Indian cricket team's coach's job is a lucrative one and no one with practical senses would want to risk it. An overly outgoing and proactive coach, in the Indian cricket coach, brings some perils -- no one has forgotten Chappell's tenure. Kirsten and Wright were never known to be too outgoing, but they produced results. Fletcher seems to be almost totally aloof, and unwilling to rock the prima donna culture in the Indian cricket team. That, however, seems to suit the current regime just perfectly.

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 5:54 GMT

    India are now on the verge of a historic whitewash, and surprisingly not on the receiving end. Maybe Dhoni & Fletcher were waiting for the old guard to retire before being able to stamp their authority and mould the team the way they want without politics and egos. I think the next few series will be a good indicator of Fletcher's contribution. You can already see the positivity in Dhoni's captaincy in this series. Retaining Fletcher might not be a bad idea.

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 6:01 GMT

    DISAGREE WITH YOU , poor article , cant believe it is from you , i hope u aware indian team in transition period, apart from the england and australia tour test matches, the fletcher period is average , let it be

    what abt failures in australia and england series,

    shewag,gambir,laxman,sachin,yuvaraj, all the batsman are failed

    do u expect flecther to bat, we rebilding our team , give support,

    can u suggest a few names instead of fletcher,

    poor articel

  • POSTED BY on | March 23, 2013, 6:08 GMT

    Srinivasan (BCCI) - on elongating Fletcher's term: We know Fletcher is a very good coach, but having looked his records we felt he needs a completely rotten team to make it the best. So his first assignment was to make the No1 test team in the world a non sense and then make them look like phoenix, rising from the ashes. And he has so far done wonderfully.